Female downhill skateboarder Anna O’Neill shared a statement to social media addressing biological males who identify as transgender women competing in women’s sports.
In a now-deleted Instagram post, O’Neill claimed critics were slamming her as “transphobic” and saying she had “bullied transgender women” for speaking out against biological men participating in women’s sports during a meeting discussing eligibility standards for competing in the sport.
“That is false. The structure of this meeting wasn’t perfect by any means, no one who organized this is an expert in conflict resolution,” O’Neill wrote. “However, our intentions were to bring all relevant parties to the table and to open up communication in a respectful manner the best way we knew how, with the tools and information we have.”
“This isn’t about myself, this isn’t about any individual athlete, this is about fairness and safety in sport and how much we are willing to sacrifice for inclusivity.”
Female downhill skateboarder, Anna O’Neill, spoke up about “transgender women” in competition and say she has been viciously bullied and threatened with violence for it. pic.twitter.com/11WFYC8c8n
— Taylor Silverman (@tmsilverman) September 4, 2023
O’Neill conceded she believed “transgender women are women” and that she believed someone could mutually support trans rights and women’s rights along with simultaneously having “fair and meaningful competition.”
“I never intended for everyone to agree on everything in this meeting, but I did want everyone to have a chance to be heard,” she continued. “I firmly believe society will be a better place if we stop trying to intimidate others into silence and instead try to foster healthy communication when discussing polarizing topics.”
The skateboarder reiterated her belief that transgender-identifying women, but noted “sex and gender are two different things.”
“To say that there are no physiological differences between transgender women and females is false,” she added.
Arguments were made for the inclusion of transgender women in the women’s category with zero eligibility criteria. Arguments were also made for trans women only being allowed to race in the women’s category if they have not gone through any stage of male puberty … This was the purpose of this meeting, to discuss different viewpoints- even if talking about these possibilities hurt feelings on either side.
O’Neill stressed the importance of sharing ideas in order to understand nuanced issues and make informed decisions. The skateboarder continued suggesting there were “many spaces” in which biological men identifying as transgender women and biological females didn’t need to be differentiated.
“But in some spaces, these differences matter and should not be ignored,” she said adding she had been “viciously bullied and threatened with violence” following her remarks. “I plan to continue to foster respectful, open and meaningful dialogue with the aim of finding ways to honor all marginalized groups in our beautiful community and for our sport.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, O’Neill appears to have deleted the post and her Instagram account. Fellow skateboarder and Timcast associate Taylor Silverman, who has been outspoken about biological males competing in women’s sports, provided a statement to Timcast News.
“I think it’s possible that Anna’s decision to delete her post was because of an increase in bullying and threats like she had written about experiencing previously,” Silverman said, noting she has received harassment online for speaking out against biological males competing in women’s sports. “I understand feeling hesitant, fearful, or overwhelmed,” she said. “The amount of support I have received, along with my faith in God has helped me to stand my ground and continue speaking up about this important issue.”